(If you came searching for ALO's Barbeque, click the word. It's a good song, that's why I borrowed it's lyrics.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No crap, pee & crap

Sorry everyone for the vulgarisms. Also, please use discretion in whom you show this to.

  1. No crap. I came home from food shopping. I love shopping! I hate unloading and putting things away, but I adore shopping! I talk to strangers, "Can you believe the raisin bran boxes are shrinking as the prices rise?" When I remarked how inexpensive the pears were, a woman asked me how to keep pears from turning brown in a fruit salad. My husband makes fruit salad swimming in orange juice and I passed on that tip. When I comment, some people answer me, some ignore me. But I have fun.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dangling possibilities revisited

This morning as I slipped into a long-sleeved silk undershirt to ward off the frigid temperatures, I detected a waft of mildew. I have a nose for these things. The garment had either slightly mildewed after I had folded and stored it when still damp, or it had absorbed any lingering mildew from hanging in the basement to dry. In case it was the latter, I headed to the basement to retrieve any other hanging delicates in hopes of curtailing any future mildew casualties. I had purchased this ingenious hanger common in Asia, especially in Japan and Hong Kong. It looks on the top like the hook of a coat hanger but it descends down into a square upon which dangle rows of pinching clothespins. Why these aren't ubiquitous in the U.S. is a mystery to me. There hung several raggedy gray wool socks, more evidence of our meager attempts to thwart the cold. Also, dangling were silk undies of the more sensuous sort: black, leopard, magenta. In a burst of inspiration I brought the plastic hanger up to the living room by the toasty wood stove. The only place to attach it was a dangling chain from the ceiling fan/light fixture. I had just got it in place when I peered out the window. The insulation guys had arrived in their big truck. I struggled to untangle the hook from the chain as they approached the door. Dangling possibilities...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Am I supposed to have a theme? Will you all go away if I don't stick to it? Certainly you all will high tail it if this just becomes whining. Maybe if any of you out there can ask a question in the comments, about depression, parenting, the recession, transgender kids, you name it, I'll try to address that issue is my next post.

Meanwhile, this week we find out if Steve gets a low-paying, temporary job with no benefits. Are we sitting on the edge of our seats?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Pieces

Last night I had a splitting sinus headache. Good, I thought, then I can cancel my meeting with the accountant. Which makes no sense because his job is to help me do my books, and the more trouble I'm having, the more incentive I should have to meet with him, after all, that's what I'm paying him for. Who said I was rational? My fear, if you dig down deep to reveal it's ugly mass, is that he will judge me, I guess, look at me and say, "Who do you think you are trying to run a business???"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Adoption; or, colorful subplots

The road is long and winding, Like a good mystery unfolding, It twists and turns, In colorful subplots and sunburns, And fake out endings, And sometimes my patience in the whole process starts bending...(from ALO's Barbeque)
When I first joined the adoption community we were waiting nervously for our child. We already had doubts of our decision with three children and a stressful work situation. With equal mounts of joyful anticipation, and trepidation, We entered a whole new world.

Often the waiting families already had several grown children and then had a new set of younger adopted children. Some  seemed compulsive with five or six adopted children, often similar ages. Their stated motivation was their god's calling. I was simultaneously in awe of these people and a bit wary of them. On the one hand, what incredible devotion and sense of mission. How could one not want to parent otherwise abandoned children? On the other hand, it's hard not to read into things. Could some of these parents be suffering from an exaggerated case of empty nest syndrome? How could anyone possibly attend to the needs of that many biological children, let alone those with special needs, raised in institutions?

True, many didn't adopt children older than ages two or three, who often have easier adjustments into the American family. Some only intended to adopt one or two, but found themselves drawn to other waiting children, sometimes their new child's friend from the same orphanage (known in China as social welfare institutes or SWI's.) Other times a family is inadvertently touched by a 13 year old child about to age out of the system (in China a 14 year old is no longer adoptable.) I've seen a family go back to adopt a child with similar special needs, such as a family with an albino child that feels that, with their experience in raising such a child, they are the best family equipped to adopt another. Or maybe their child feels left out.

But do these formulas really work? Does adding an older child to a family, with two elementary aged children adopted as babies, add a blessing or something more complicated? Can a young teen learn to cuddle with, or even fully trust his new parents? Certainly sometimes, but this is not a given. Do the two special needs kids really connect just because they share a particular skin-tone? Can you really even tell until years have gone by how the family has been influenced by the new addition? Bickering youngsters might rely on each other as adult siblings. Those years, though, the years of arguing and anxiety, do they add an unfair hardship to the original set of children, or even to a reluctant parent? Or do the lessons of charity, tolerance and understanding add to the depth of the whole family's life long experience? The latter is, of course,  what we count on.

What strikes me most is how indefatigable these parents are. For us, the days, hours, weeks, months following our adoption of Janet were in strict maintenance mode, barely keeping our heads above water. Similar--yet different--from the first year of parenting twins.

Have you ever had a guest that overstayed her visit? Even a beloved family member or friend, after a certain number of days, you grow weary and your routine is thrown off. Now imagine a complete stranger, who doesn't speak your language, has completely different customs, habits, mannerisms than your own, who just won't go home. Moreover you have committed yourself to making sure she stays. Your children who have eagerly anticipated the new arrival quickly sour. Who is this intruder, they wonder. You, the parent, wonder the same thing. What were we thinking?

We couldn't have survived those early days without the mostly online community of fellow adopters who told us, time and again, that this feeling, too, shall pass. They spoke of faith, something that we lack in a religious sense. We discovered a different sort of faith, a faith in the process, that there will come a time when we won't be able to imagine life without this child. The feeling began to blossom. Until, in the sixth month home, we realized we had adopted a transgender child. So the mystery unfolds.